Madagascar Tree Boa

Sanzinia madagascarensis

Order: Squamata

Husbandry Information

Housing Requirements

  • Temperature, Humidity, & Lighting:
    • Temperature:
    • Humidity:
    • Lighting:
  • Substrate:

Diet Requirements

  • In the wild, these snakes prey on small mammals.
  • In captivity, they are fed mice.

Veterinary Concerns

Notes on Enrichment & Training


Colony or Breeding Management

Notes species is housed or managed socially or for breeding purposes.

Individual Identification

Dimorphism or practiced ways to individually mark species (such as those in colonies, like giant millipedes).

Programmatic Information


hot water bottle

Temperature Guidelines

  • Brandywine Zoo: During cool weather (under 65°F), supplemental heat is provided with a hot water bottle set to one side of the cooler. Wrap bottle with newspaper for lizards or snakes traveling with the bottle loose, to make cleanups easier in the case of defecation while traveling.



  • Brandywine Zoo: reptiles travel in a Coleman style coolers that have been amended with extra ventilation holes on the lid (with a wood-burning tool). Small and medium sized snakes travel inside an inside-out, knotted pillowcase. Large snakes travel loose in the cooler that is also bungeed shut. For lizards, the cooler is lined with newspaper.
  • lg cooler sm cooler cooler

Tips on Presentation

Touching Techniques

Tips on Handling


Potential Messaging

Acquisition Information


Comments from the Rating System

Natural History Information

Range and Habitat

As the name suggests, this species is found in Madagascar. In the east, they inhabit tropical rainforests; in the west, they can be found in deciduous forests, and in the south, they live in semi-desert forests. They seem to be more abundant next to villages, where possibly it takes advantages from the presence of rodents, which constitute their main prey.

Physical Description

Madagascar tree boas are olive-green in coloration with brown spots. In lush eastern forests, the background coloration is usually bright green, while in the dryer western forests, the background coloration is brown. These snakes have vertical pupils. They can reach up to 8 feet in length, and weigh up to 10 pounds.

Life Cycle

Sexual maturity is reached at 4 to 6 years of age. During the breeding season, September through December, the males engage in combat over the females. When pregnant, the female darkens in color considerably. Often, this is the very first sign that she is gravid. Her color will return to normal after she gives birth. After a gestation of 6 to 8 months, the female will bear 3 to 16 live young. Newborn boas average 6.5 inches in length and weigh about 1 ounce. The young are red in color when they are born; they change to adult coloration within 6 to 12 months of age.

In captivity, Madagascar tree boas can live 15 to 20 years.


Madagascar tree boas are nocturnal and mainly terrestrial – the common name is actually a misnomer; studies have shown that most of these snakes actually prefer to spend more of their active time on the ground. They will, however, bask in trees during the day.

Threats and Conservation Status

This species is threatened due to habitat destruction. Collection for the pet trade might also have an impact; these snakes can be difficult to to breed in captivity.

Did you know…

  • The Malagasy name for this species is Manditra.




Any Documents to attach, species spotlights, etc.

Contributors and Citations

  • The Philadelphia Zoo
  • Houston Zoo, Natural Encounters